Three and a half years after hundreds of thousands of people disappear from the world, a remarkable incident occurs. A well beloved man, killed by a sword thrust through his brain, remarkably comes back to life three days after his death! This event draws nearly all of the populous into a start of astonishment and rapturous. He then demands their worship, making the logical argument that anyone who has faced death and triumphed should be an object of worship. However, this haughty man has been attempting to trick people into worshiping him for many years. Before his death, he was Nicolae Carpathia, the antichrist, but now he has been resurrected and indwelt with Satan himself. Not every person is gullible enough to bow down to such an evil. They know better. Among their number lie the protagonists of this series, Rayford Steele, Cameron “Buck” Williams, and the other members of the Tribulation Force. Because of their refusal to worship “Nicolae,” they are fugitives, and must work covertly, relying of their inside man to allow them access to places they could normally never go. Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins’ The Mark enthralled me with the use of biblical prophecy to create a captivating tale detailing the final battles of good and evil.
In this book, most of the Tribulation Force, now at the group’s highest number, must hide out in their safe house located in the all but decimated city of Chicago, while the other members, acting as inside men, must find a way to escape New Babylon before the application of the mark of the beast begins. Should they fail and be forced to receive the loyalty mark of Satan, their souls could be condemned to Hell. The application of the mark will begin with criminals in prisons, but ever since Carpathia’s resurrection, prisons have been filling up with more “heretics” refusing to worship Carpathia. In other words, good Christians and Jews will be the first to have to take the mark… or the alternative, death by guillotine. Their main techie, and luckily a higher-up on the inside, David Hassid, manipulates the database in order to give certain Tribulation Force members fake identities within Carpathia’s headquarters, and send them on the most important mission and risky mission yet; Save as many believers as possible from the guillotines without looking suspicious in any way. In the end, the insiders concoct a risky plan to escape New Babylon and simultaneously make everyone save the stateside Tribulation Force believe them dead. However, such a strategy requires nearly as much luck as skill, and possibly cannot be pulled off. Will they be able to save themselves from eternal condemnation? Perhaps, perhaps not.
The characters in this series often seem real because of their own character strengths and flaws. They also seem dynamic at times, changing certain mannerisms or behaviors. For instance, in the sixth book in the series, Rayford, probably the main protagonist, becomes overcome with hate for the antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia. He journeys to Jerusalem armed to the teeth, determined to finish off the greatest evil the world had ever seen at that point. However, he fails and later realizes the foolishness of his actions and is deeply regretful of how easily he succumbed to hate.
Bitter-sweetly, this book holds the place of eighth in a series of thirteen, meaning that I cannot clarify much of what happened in the previous seven, but I can look forward to the remaining five at the same time. To be blunt, I cannot recommend this book to people whom do not have much connection to Christianity, not even an interest. However, I do recommend this novel to people interest in biblical prophecy, because the manuscript’s basis is the prophecies themselves. All in all, this series shows promise, and so far has been quite enjoyable.